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Money, get away
Get a good job with more pay
And you’re O.K.

Money, it’s a gas
Grab that cash with both hands
And make a stash

New car, caviar, four star daydream
Think I’ll buy me a football team

Money get back
I’m all right Jack
Keep your hands off my stack

Money, it’s a hit
Don’t give me that
Do goody good bullshit

I’m in the hi-fidelity
First class traveling set
And I think I need a Lear jet

Money, it’s a crime
Share it fairly
But don’t take a slice of my pie

Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil
Today

But if you ask for a rise
It’s no surprise that they’re
Giving none away

Queen Victoria, Matthew Barney, Jules Verne, and Pink Floyd are not names you usually hear in the same sentence, but then the place that they all share in common is not particularly usual. Known as Fingal’s Cave, it bears a history and geology unlike any other cave in the world.

Seventy-two feet tall, two-hundred-seventy feet deep, what makes this sea cave so astoundingly is the hexagonal columns of basalt, neat eight-sided pillars that make up its interior walls.

The cave was a well-known wonder of the ancient Irish and Scottish celtic people and was an important site in the legends. Known to the celts as Uamh-Binn or “The Cave of Melody,” one Irish legend in particular explained the existence of the cave as well as that of the similar Giant’s Causeway in Ireland. As both are made of the same neat basalt columns, the legend holds that they were the end pieces of a bridge built by the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (a.k.a. Finn McCool) to Scotland where he was to fight Benandonner, his gigantic Scottish rival.

The legend, which connects the two structures, is in effect geologically correct. Both the Giant’s Causeway and Fingal’s Cave were indeed created by the same ancient lava flow, which may have at one time formed a “bridge” between the two sites. Of course, this happened some 60 million years ago, long before people would have been around to see it. (Or, for that matter, dinosaurs, as they had already been extinct for some five million years. A dog sized, five-toed ancestor of the modern horse may have had a look.) Nonetheless, the deductive reasoning of the ancient peoples formed the connection and base of the legend that the two places must be related.

Of course, the columns were not formed by gigantic hands as the legend would have it, but rather by an enormous mass of hot lava cooling so slowly that, like mud under the hot sun, it cracked into long hexagonal forms. These pillars make up much of the base of the island of Staffa – Old Norse for “Stave or Pillar,” and named so by the Vikings for the odd geology – where Fingal’s Cave is found.

The cave was rediscovered when naturalist Sir Joseph Banks visited it in 1772. At the time of Banks discovery, “Fingal, an Ancient Epic Poem in Six Books,” was a very popular poetic series supposedly translated from an ancient Gaelic epic by Irish poet James Macpherson.

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